A woman-led medical device company whose product helps diagnoses viral and bacterial ear infections in children, has just won WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation’s (WCD) inaugural Launch Zone competition in Silicon Valley.
Winner OtoNexus Medical Technologies, led by Chair and CEO Caitlin Cameron, presented its pitch along with five other startups before a panel of judges emceed by Sue Siegel, Chief Innovation Officer at GE and CEO of GE Ventures. The audience was said to be comprised of 200 women corporate board members from 23 countries—attendees of the 2019 WCD Global Institute, said to be WCD’s largest membership gathering of the year. Both attendees and judges voted, and concurred on the winner.
With only 2.2% of total venture capital investing going to female-founded startups last year, Siegel said, WCD wanted to “showcase women entrepreneurs who are putting forward something they believe in, also giving them the opportunity to get in front of the right people. Women are just not getting funded at nearly the levels they should be.”
When asked about how she felt pitching to a group of women when the vast majority of those to whom she must direct her fundraising pitches are men, Cameron responded, “It’s so wonderful to present to a room full of women. It’s just a different dynamic: Their questions, their engagement, the things they care about. One of the key things that seems to be different is that women are more engaged and engaging. Women tend to ask thoughtful questions and while they are very interested in the financial risk and the market opportunity, they are also interested in the big picture.” She continued: “We have six board members and three of them are women.”
OtoNexus is a Seattle-based firm working to “bring the process of diagnosing ear infections into the 21st century.” Ear infections, Cameron said, are “the number one reason for both surgery and antibiotic use in children.” According to the company, OtoNexus’ winning device helps shorten treatment time, reduce misdiagnosis, and avoids unnecessary antibiotic use through the innovative use of Doppler ultrasound technology. Commercialization of the product is expected to begin this year.
In addition to Sue Siegel, judges included:
- Bodil “Bo” Arlander, Founding Partner, Moxie Capital
- Dr Nola Masterson, Founder, CEO and Managing Director, Science Futures, Inc
- Mary Jo Potter, CEO and Managing Director at Healthcare Angels
- Una Ryan, Managing Director, Golden Seeds
- Theo Schwabacher, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley
WCD members are directors of public and large, privately held company boards. Many are currently CEOs or in other C-level positions, and heavily involved in corporate innovation, investments, and acquisitions.
Source: WomanCorporateDirectors Foundation
Image: WomanCorporateDirectors Foundation